The impact that COVID-19 has had across the world is immense and constantly evolving. Where possible, many people have transitioned to working from home in many different sectors. The reality is that transitioning to a home-based work environment does not come without some challenges and adjustments. Because in today's "new normal", most people are home with the entire family, finding the time and space to be productive is a work in progress that requires organization, self-discipline, and concentration. Whether working from home is a temporary or permanent thing, here are some simple and practical tips to keep you productive and working efficiently while at home with the family or others you may share a home with.
10. Claim Your Workspace
Establishing a dedicated place in your home that you can declare your own in order to set up your home-based workspace that is somewhat isolated and private is imperative. This may require some shifting of furniture, rearranging resources like computers or laptops and somewhere that ideally will have a door so you can close yourself off from the rest of the household to get your work done with minimal distractions.
9. Have a Household Meeting
It is very important to speak candidly with your family or housemates in order to set expectations and set parameters of what working from home will look like for you and for them. This transition is a significant learning curve for everyone so opening lines of communications ensuring everyone is on the same page is important. Make sure all household members fully understand that your being home does not mean you are on vacation. It simply means that your current work situation may have changed and everyone must do their part to ensure that cooperation is a top priority. Everyone in the household is in this together.
8. Set and Respect Working Hours
Just like working outside the home, it is very important to establish what your workday will look like. It will have a distinct beginning and an end. Once the core hours required to work have been agreed upon with your employer, communicate that to your family or other household members so they are aware when you will be off-limits. Set your alarm clock, get started early and get your work done. Saving time commuting can actually give you more core hours to be productive and allow you to perhaps "get off early" so you can resume your time with your family and friends and go about the rest of your day.
7. Get Your Technology Ready
Depending on the type of work you do, internet availability, video conferencing and possibly a printer may be required. If these are not things you have, speak to your employer to help you procure and pay for these items to be able to work from home efficiently. If you already have these items and technologies in place, make sure you agree to the necessary work reimbursements allowed before transitioning to your home-work environment. It is always imperative to be clear about the reciprocal employer-employee expectations in this regard before transitioning.
6. Dress the Part
Headed to your workspace at home in your pajamas may be acceptable on occasion but should definitely not be the norm. Remember, you are working, not lounging around so your attire should reflect that. Dressing for the office when working from home is also a great way to get you into "work mode". It is key for your productivity and it will help you psychologically make the distinction between office hours and homelife hours.
5. Pack a Lunch and Snacks
When working from home it is very easy to get distracted and spend extra time doing things around the house during work hours. A great way to avoid distractions is by packing some snacks and your lunch so you do not spend unnecessary time in the kitchen. Take your break, have your lunch; this is essential to avoid burnout. However, it is equally important to be very mindful of your time and get back to your workspace in a timely fashion so you do not lose your flow and stay focused.
4. Get Some Fresh Air and Stretch Your Legs
A big advantage of working from home is the ability to easily head outside your door or balcony and take in some fresh air. Grab a coffee or tea, take a short walk outdoors just to change the scenery and to stay active. Fresh air does wonders for the mind and keeping active is essential for your health and well being.
3. Check in With Your Boss and Colleagues
When working remotely and not in a team or office environment, it is necessary to stay connected. Working from home when you are used to typically working with others can sometimes result in missed communications or deadlines. With modern technology, it is very simple to stay on top of your work and ensure you are on the right track. Checking in also allows you to interact with people from work which will continue to make you feel connected and part of a team. It also keeps you accountable which will help maintain the integrity of your work.
2. Have Some Music Playing in the Background
Having some music playing at a moderate level while working can actually help increase productivity. It also serves as a sound barrier from other things that may be happening in the background from other family or household members that are home while you are working. Choose your tunes wisely so you are not distracted by the temptation of having a dance party in your workspace instead of getting the job done!
1. Set Distinct Boundaries Between Your Work and Your Personal Life
If working from home is a temporary situation like during the COVID-19 pandemic, following simple guidelines will help you to adapt. If working from home is or becomes a permanent situation then it is imperative to make sure specific boundaries are set by you, other members of your household and by your colleagues and superiors. It is very important to not blur the lines between work and home life; they are very distinct entities. Be mindful of your needs, the needs of your employer as well as the needs of others in your family and household.
About the Author
Elena Cortesi is a native Italian who has been living in Toronto, Canada for the past 46 years. Elena has an academic background in languages and writing and her career experiences include various marketing and managerial roles in travel, technology, jewelry, health and nutrition, and various entrepreneurial endeavors. Writing is her passion; a passion that allows her to share the written word to the world through various forms of media.
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